Comedian Jay Pharoah recalled on Friday how Los Angeles police officers held him at gunpoint, ordered him to the ground and knelt on his neck while handcuffing him during a recent false detainment.
The cops let the “Saturday Night Live” alum ― who was exercising ― go after discovering it was a case of mistaken identity, Pharoah explained in a video he shared to Instagram containing what appeared to be footage of the incident.
“It wasn’t as long as George Floyd but I know how that feels,” Pharoah said of the way one officer restrained him. Floyd, a Black man, died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes. His death has sparked nationwide anti-racism protests.
“I could have easily been an Ahmaud Arbery or a George Floyd,” acknowledged Pharoah, who left “SNL” in 2016.
“And I’m not and I can tell my story.” he added, urging young Black men to “educate yourselves on the laws” to “understand what the cops are saying to you, so if they try to flip anything on you” they have “the knowledge and power to overthrow that.” The incident occurred in April, “about a week” before footage emerged of the death of Ahmaud Arbery, Pharoah said.
Check out Pharoah’s video here:
“The person in the Instagram post was detained as a possible suspect of a crime,” a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told ABC’s Eyewitness News. “It was determined to be the wrong suspect and he was let go. The incident is being investigated.”
“SNL” stars past and present showed solidarity with Pharoah in the comments section of his post: